416th Bombardment Group (L)
May 27, 1944, Saturday
Aircraft Serial Number (Type): 43-9893 (Douglas A-20G-35-DO Havoc)
9th AF; 416th Bomb Gp; 671st Bomb Sq
Mission # 58; Box: I; Flight: 1; Position: 5; A/C Fuselage Code: 5H-P
Reason: Enemy anti-aircraft
Damage: Crash Landing, Washed out
Point Of Departure: AAF-170 Wethersfield RAF Station, England
Location: Coast of England
Lt Sims was hit in the arm by flak, and gave the order to his two gunners to bail out over France. The two chutes were seen to open. Lt Sims managed to jockey the plane back across the Channel and crashed on the coast. Although badly injured, and the plane completely wrecked, he did an outstanding job getting the plane back to this side of the Channel. ... The four crews were: Lt Allen W. Gullion Jr., S/Sgt Grady F. Cope, and S/Sgt Gerald L. Coffey; Lt Lucien J. Siracusa, S/Sgt James M. Hume, and S/Sgt Floyd E. Brown; Lt Harry E. Hewes, S/Sgt Joseph F. Kasper, and S/Sgt Harold E. Boyer; Lt Tommie J. Sims, S/Sgt Julius C. Williamson, and S/Sgt Harry W. Larsen.
The hightest award went to Second Lieutenant Tommie J. Sims. It was the DISTINGUISHED SERVICES CROSS. On 27 May 1944, after having had his plane shot up by flak on the bomb run, and having been seriously wounded himself, Lt. Sims ordered his gunners to bail out when he thought that he was about to lose conscioiusness. He continued on alone, however, forsaking all thoughts of his own safety in a vain effort to get his plane back to England, where he eventually did crash land. [August, 1944]
The other two were Lt Tommie J. Sims, whose injuries caused him to be invalided home [July, 1944]
(416th BG History 1944)
2nd Lt Tommie J. Sims, a newly assigned pilot flying his second combat mission, was seriously wounded and his aircraft severely damaged by enemy ground fire at the very outset of the bombing-run. Flying on one engine, the injured pilot heroically remained in formation for the duration of the run, and having released his bombs on the target, flew the ship back to England where he crash-landed. His crew, Sgt Harry W. Larsen (Mechanic-Gunner), and Sgt Julius C. Williamson Jr. (Armorer-Gunner), abandoned ship over enemy territory and are missing in action.
("668th Bombardment Squadron (L) History")
General Orders No. 94, 4 June 1944, Purple Heart is awarded to: 668th Bombardment Squadron (L), Tommie J. Sims, O-675455, Second Lieutenant, Air Corps, United States Army. For wounds received in action against an enemy of the United States on 27 May 1944, while serving as Pilot of an A-20 airplane on a combat operational mission over enemy occupied territory. Entered military service at Hollis, Oklahoma.
(416th BG Purple Heart Awards (PDF))
See Mission # 58 for additional details